A highly topical thriller set amongst the world of the homeless in Cambridge.
Frank Pugsley, a homeless ex-soldier, has come to Cambridge looking for answers. Having heard that his son has died from a drugs overdose he sets out to discover the truth of what has happened. This will be a quest fraught with danger as he enters a very different side of Cambridge to the one most of us know. As well as having to battle external threats Frank will also have face up to the post-traumatic stress disorder he suffers as a result of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Frank encounters a cast of shady and dangerous characters: a ruthless leader of a drug dealing gang; assorted heavies; a greedy and disreputable landlord: a bent police inspector and a well connected auctioneer with a strange and surprising collection of auction gavels.
With the help of his estranged wife, and her new husband, a WPC with whom he has a brief affair; a talkative and knowledgeable `Big Issue' seller and a collection of rough sleepers and market traders Frank gets nearer to the truth. But this only increases the danger to him and those helping him. An explosive culmination to his quest will bring violence and further death to the city.
Underbelly of Cambridge is a taut and violent thriller which also deals with an urban problem getting worse and worse in modern Cambridge.It reveals an underclass in society and the constant danger they face. It has at its heart a hero, having to deal with his own inner demons, wanting justice but at what cost to himself and those around him?
John Phelps is a retired journalist who has lived in Cambridge since 1969 and has seen an alarming growth in homelessness around the city in recent years. His first novel Agent From Hell was published by Matador in 2010, and he has won several awards for his writing while working for the Cambridge Evening News.